After weeks of back-and-forth negotiations and media speculation, former F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen has ruled out the prospect of returning to the sport with the Renault team. The Finnish driver who left F1 for the World Rally Championship last year has left a big question mark over if he would ever return to the series he conquered in 2007, stating that he'd consider it only if he could drive for a team with a serious chance of winning.
Renault won two back-to-back world titles with Fernando Alonso (who, incidentally, took Kimi's seat at Ferrari, prompting his departure) a few years back, and has been showing considerable promise this season with Robert Kubica at the helm. The team's form reportedly prompted Kimi's people to contact Renault about a potential drive, but in a recent interview, the Finn objected to the manner in which the French outfit publicly handled the negotiations, accusing them of using the prospect as a marketing ploy and negating the possibility of his joining the team for next season.
In related news, Renault F1 managing director Bob Bell has stepped down from his position, handing the reins to team principal Eric Boullier. Bell had stepped up in the wake of the Crashgate scandal, and the change-up marks the biggest shift in management at Renault since Flavio Briatore and Pay Symonds were booted out of the sport in the scandal's wake. Details of the appointment can be found in the press release after the jump.
[Sources: Autosport, Renault | Image: Roni Rekomaa/AFP/Getty]
Eric Boullier appointed Managing Director of Renault F1 Team
The Renault F1 Team has announced today that Eric Boullier, Team Principal since 5 January 2010, will take over the role of Managing Director with immediate effect following the departure of Bob Bell.
Gérard Lopez, Chairman of the Renault F1 Team, said: "We would like to thank Bob Bell for his contribution to the performance of the team and for helping see us through a period of transition since Genii Capital became a shareholder in the Renault F1 Team. We are entrusting the post of Managing Director to Eric Boullier and we have every confidence that, under his leadership, we will achieve our racing objectives. Throughout the 2010 season, we have been assessing what is required to continue improving our level of competitiveness and we believe we are well positioned for the challenges ahead."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director, commented: "Since the beginning of the season, the Renault F1 Team has demonstrated its ability to react to a need for change. The results of the tremendous efforts made have been immediately apparent on the race track. Today, we have a competitive car and an incredibly motivated team. I am proud of the trust being placed in me to continue this good work, and I will make every effort to ensure the Renault F1 Team returns to the front of the grid as soon as possible."